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For High Tech Companies, “Going Public Sucks”

Pt 819

“For High Tech Companies, Going Public Sucks”

There’s another option: Skip the VC cash. That may sound like suicide, but a recent study showed that most fast-growing US companies take no venture funding at all.

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  1. IPOs are kind of getting ridiculous. It’s not like it’s about raising capital for expansion any more, more about getting a fat wad of crazy go nuts money. Then later, the shareholders get mad because they’ve lost what discipline made them attractive to invest in I the first place.

    I’m not really a huge fan of this recent model of figuring out one thing that works, going for an IPO and getting more money than you can possibly invest in making that one thing, then trying to develop a hundred more things after that. That gag sort of worked for Microsoft for a while, but then petered out. Long term I don’t think it’s going to pan out since its very hard for someone working inside a big established corporation to sell something new. Sure I’m sure that Google Labs and the Facebook Labs yet-to-come will create a lot of new things with all of their money but very little of it is going to get mobilized and delivered to end users.

    Wall Street isn’t in a healthy place right now and I don’t know that this mess is helping either innovators or investors. I’m starting to think that maybe it would be better for investors to pursue investments in local businesses with credible business plans rather than chasing after the next big thing.

  2. So, …. Are you selling Adafruit stock on the private markets?

    Venture funding and IPOs both get you a lot of cash in return for selling your soul, more or less. I guess the values involved today make things pretty significantly different than my experience at cisco (~$2M VC, $392M IPO), not that they were great then (bet you can’t name cisco’s first two CEOs 🙂
    Usually, that sort of cash is needed to support the growth that such companies are expected to produce. cisco was literally in a position where they couldn’t buy enough parts to meet the demand for finished products.
    OTOH, I’ve watched some would-be cisco suppliers remain about the same size, going from companies that thought cisco was too risky to deal with to companies that cisco considers too small to deal with. Pretty much doing the same thing over the whole time, keeping up-to-date with the technology. Not so lucrative, but it seems like it was probably pretty fun…

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